By: Maria Paz Galarraga

The code of Hammurabi gave birth to today’s concept of law. Throughout time law has developed, transformed, and expanded. Romans took their knowledge and defined law in their own terms while Greeks did it following their preferences. As time went by civilizations, resources and necessities changed and so did the law. Today we live in an era where the law has expanded greatly, moving from Asia to Africa to America, arriving in every corner of the world. Globalization not only caused global expansion, but it caused the law to evolve, transforming it and creating many areas of specialization. Without a question, globalization pushed legal knowledge to new heights, and while some argue in favor of it stating that globalization was aimed at global prosperity others disagree. Detractors state that globalization instead is the key to the victory of markets and capitalism. The question of who is right is yet to be answered, however, one thing is true, globalization led the law to a multilevel position. Today it is possible to find law in both international and national areas. The convergence of legal perspectives and the interdependence of states has led to a trend of transnational flow increasing the importance of networks and globalism.   

The Construction of global administrative law has been shaped and limited to existing institutions and patterns of the international order. There are two ways to construct global law; the first one concerns the application of domestic law and working its way up to global mechanisms. While the second one focuses instead on a strategy which aims at creating an international mechanism first. The latter is a much more contemporary approach avoiding some of the possible issues the domestic mechanism might bring. It is aimed at creating accountability at the global level where all international actors may participate in the administrative procedures. Some decisions are made by international entities and then reviewed at a domestic level. Yet this approach might also face many limitations and constraints. In order for this process to be perfect it would need the legalization of administrative regimes that are currently informal. The institutionalization of such would lead to the loss of their benefits and their purpose of cooperation.   

On the other hand, when applying the bottom-up strategy one may face other difficulties. There are many constraints when implementing domestic tools in the international world. In global governance, there is no command-and-control administration like the one established within states. Global administration instead consists of administrative bodies with different powers and non-binding rules leading to a great issue of informality. Domestic systems have a clear vertical structure allowing an entity to hold control and to be held accountable. However, in global governance decision-making powers are attributed to many actors making accountability difficult. On the other hand, in a domestic aspect, many private actors serve as regulators, yet in an international space, effective means of intervention and control are largely lacking. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization), for instance, has adopted different procedures of accountability in addition to those of domestic law to enhance its effectiveness and legitimacy internationally. Nonetheless, this bottom-up approach is an effective tool to link global law with democratic processes. Given that today’s international administration is made up of domestic regulators and their effectiveness, implementing this mechanism is a constructive strategy.   

Globalization is best characterized as a network rather than a set of hierarchies. Because of globalization governments, societies, people and countries have been pushed to rethink the traditional perspective of government, governance, and relations. Martin Shapiro refers to the globalization of law as the degree to which we all live under a single set of legal rules. He argues that globalization refers to several interrelated phenomena perceived in business transactions and relationships. One could analyze the impact of globalization under many aspects of the law. For instance, in commercial law, one can see that commercial transactions have evolved into a new open corporation where internal directives are created because of negotiation and agreements. The common corporate culture is now absent allowing both contracting parties to search for third-party messengers or peacekeepers in order to find a solution from their perspectives. While in public law bureaucracies are asked to increase transparency and increase public participation and decision-making.  As time goes by constitutional rights movements arise the possibility of the law being a way to protect the individual. Given globalization, protective law moves away from constitutional law and into the importance of product standers, consumer protection, occupational health, and safety. Now there is a worldwide increase in legal protection of economic, social, technological, and environmental issues.  

All in all, we see globalization being an important aspect of evolution within international law. Undeniably, large-scale connectivity and exchange have led to an increase in complexity meaning complex solutions for complex issues. Whether it’s for the benefit of all, or for the benefit of some law, the law has evolved positively in many aspects. Protective law is starting to focus on global issues, commerce has expanded past domestic boundaries into transnational ways. The power of the law has reached everyone and everything. Indeed, there are still many mechanisms yet to be developed or yet to be perfected. There are still many areas of law yet to be discovered and yet to be created. However, the system implemented today allows a bigger space for rights, a bigger space for private entities, and even a bigger space for individuals. Even though we live in a world where no global government exists, it is the right collaboration between entities that will lead us to success. While there are still many holes to cover and many questions to answer I believe that globalization has led the world towards a positive future. However it is in the hands of the right individuals to manage the relationship between those vertical states and the horizontal global arena. 


Cassese – globalization of law – (n.d.). Retrieved January 1, 2023, from 

Globalization of Law | Annual Review of Sociology. (n.d.). Retrieved January 1, 2023, from 

M. Shapiro, The Globalization of Law, 1 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 37 (2000)  

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